WTKA Roundtable 3/2/2017: The Scars of ’73

WTKA Roundtable 3/2/2017: The Scars of ’73


It’s a long season [Joseph Dressler]

Bruce Madej and Ira Weintraub are on hand as Sam is out.

Things discussed:

  • Has any announcer ever had a worse half than Stephen Bardo?
  • End-of-game second-guessing.
  • Bruce weighs in on soccer, Happy Gilmore, musicals
  • Things happen—do they happen more often to Michigan?
  • Did Julia Louis-Dreyfus rushing the court?
  • Is Michigan still bubble-proof?
  • Two of the best bigs in the Big Ten this year are _____.
  • Next year: Alpha dog? X? What to do with the 13th spot

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.


Dear Diary's 2013 Tour du Vengeance

Dear Diary's 2013 Tour du Vengeance Comment Count

Seth March 15th, 2013 at 9:56 AM


Officiating that even closely approximated what could plausibly described as normal, a breeze from a passing mosquito on a rim-balancing rock, a half-court prayer by the last guys you'd expect to get one of those answered…pick any two things that should or could have happened this year and that's the difference between the 1 seed in the Big Ten Tourney and the 5th.

As I lay in the middle of the B1G's final season standings, trying to will my defense out of entropy, I could see the faces of the weasels that did this to me and the hair cream aficionados responsible. When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge, it seems proof like no other, that not only does God exist, you're doing His will.

Michigan shouldn't by all rights be taking the long way through the Big Ten Tournament. But fortune has seen fit to at least make that path go right through those whose ledgers with us are most in the red: Penn State yesterday, Wisconsin today, and pending survival there, almost certainly Indiana. That's our worst loss and then the only two teams who finished with winning records against us. In Indiana's case that won't change unless we meet in the NCAAs.

Can Wisconsin beat us again? I mean it's basketball: weird things happen even without the increased chaos of fewer possessions. Like for example sometimes the boryanstripes inexplicably side with the harbingers of Rigelian swamp ball:

I felt paranoid watching all of this. It was a temporary window into the world of a 9/11 truther, seeing what looked like an insane conspiracy by Big Ten refs to keep Bo Ryan in their ears, screaming unprintable things about their mothers. A full half-dozen of the calls they made seemed literally impossible, from the two mentioned above to another breakaway layup that Burke missed because a dude hit him on the head and the charge Burke took on Berggren late that went the other way for a critical three-point play. Am I sane? I thought we got a fair whistle at Indiana. I did think that.

At this point a clunky start and a million defensive breakdowns by the freshmen and THJ wouldn't even be filed as weird things. Another weird thing would be an an outfit as attuned to profit margins as this Big Ten allowing a Rigelian sympathizer any kind of access to a whistle. If you need more than "it wouldn't fit the Kill Bill narrative" for reasons to be optimistic, Wisconsin in their own building needed probably the worst complete ref job in the conference's history and an impossible half-court buzzer shot to fall to beat us the first time. Those are thoughts. Here are diaries:

philcollinsHistory lessons. Remember the funny Year in Review (with pics) things that saveferris used to write? Here he goes back to 1989, a time when the Simpsons was that new cartoon your mom didn't want you to watch, lest you turn into a spiky-haired scamp child who tells people to not have a cow, man. Most hilarious thing in the world in 1989 according to 1989 me: a nose tackle named Teeter. Teeter you all! Bad memories: the Tigers, kicking it to Rocket Ismail, and Phil Collins. Good memories: Berenson was just beginning to turn the hockey program around. Yzerman scored 155 points for the Wings, who won the Norris Division. The Pistons were at the peak of the Bad Boys period. Bo's last squad (and one of his best) with that backfield of Tony Boles, Leroy Hoard, Jarrod Bunch and Burnie Legette. And Glenn Rice, obvs.

Speaking of Bunch, he just popped up on the blog this week after someone noticed he was in the latest Tarantino film…

[After the jump]


Hokepoints: The Big Ten Has a Problem

Hokepoints: The Big Ten Has a Problem Comment Count

Seth February 12th, 2013 at 9:08 AM

It is a day after National Signing Day and the Big Ten has inked yet another lackluster group of mostly 3-star recruits. Fearing a further drift toward mediocrity, representatives from each relevant school have secretly gathered together. Their goal:  rescuing the competitive future of their once mighty conference!

A prayer is offered to AIRBHG and thanks given unto BHGP for allowing me to rip off their format.


Scene: A little-used back room of the Palmer House in Chicago, its walls lined with trophies honoring the conference's academic achievements, and tasteful sweaters. A group of men and a duck mill about, most huddled around a smartphone showing walrus porn. One is eyeing the gilded stand lamps, apparently wondering if they're bolted down. They are watched by a shadowy figure in a ski mask. JIM DELANEY enters…

delany: The Big Ten Emergency Meeting on Recruiting Top Talent to the Midwest will now come to order. B1G T3N Divisions, ROLL CALL:

urbzangrypsuzelleraduck: Leaders!

hokebraypelinimsufatpitzkillferentzconsin: Legends!

delany: Dammit Barry.

consin: Leaders!

delany: I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce our two newest members, Notre Dame and Texas.

knight: Hark, fair commissariat, thou speakest in error, for surely thou didst mean mineself and mine good compatriot of Mary's land.

terppppp: I can get my parking validated right?

delany: Unh, right. Good afternoon.

terpppppknight: Good afternoon.

hokebray: Championships!

terppppp: What's he saying?

delany: It's the…no, Brady we're not doing the thing.


knight: Undoubtedly the stout knave is expecting some manner of riposte.

[More. Oh so much more, after the JUMP!]


Morgan Trent Is Not All In

Morgan Trent Is Not All In Comment Count

Brian May 10th, 2010 at 12:27 PM

greek-riots-police-eu morgan-trent-ron-english

Another week, another riot. We are all Greek. The cause of this one:

At the end of the book, Deren describes the scene with Lloyd Carr, the former Michigan head coach that recruited Trent to Ann Arbor, breaking the news to Trent that current head coach Rich Rodriguez did him no favors.

“Rodriguez had bad-mouthed him to every NFL scout he could,” Deren writes. “Rodriguez claimed that Morgan was lazy, he had an attitude problem and he was a big reason the Wolverines finished with a 3-9 record…”

Trent admits the words were “jarring,” and they were hard to understand given that he was so serious about his career that he actually moved in with his brother and sister-in-law and their two small children while going to Michigan. [ed: "Morgan Trent was so serious about football he decided to save on rent."]

But Trent was also worried about what Carr thought about his words showing up in the book. He talks to him, not Rodriguez. “I really like Coach Carr. He’s been very good to me,” Morgan says. “I think at first he was wondering, but I let him know it didn’t put him in a bad light. I would never do something like that to Lloyd. He’s great.” …

“I guess it was motivation,” Morgan says of the words that Deren estimates may have cost him $1 million. “(I) want to show people it was all false.”

Consider it done.

Here we go again, after one hell of a game of telephone from Rodriguez to NFL scout—at this point the story can get passed to and fro ad nauseum—to Carr to Trent to book author Deren. Rodriguez issued a denial

“The comments attributed to me are inaccurate and absolutely ridiculous,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “I said just the opposite about Morgan Trent to NFL scouts and wish him well with the Bengals.”

…but even so, don't you kind of believe it anyway? Don't you sort of want to believe it? I believe Rodriguez told NFL scouts some version of what Deren says. I also believe that Trent was a lazy player with an attitude problem who was one of the main reasons Rodriguez's first team was a jumbled sack of cats attempting to claw in 20 different directions. Even if he didn't say it, I believe the words attributed to Rodriguez are accurate.

Trent's personal animosity towards Rodriguez has been made plain. We've previously established around here that football players are not compliance experts and the distinction between countable and non-countable hours befuddles even said experts. A former player's opinion on Michigan's we're-talking-about-stretching violations says more about his relationship with Rodriguez than anything about the violations. It's a Rorshach test. What Morgan Trent sees*:

"I'm not surprised because I know what happened, and I know what kind of rules were broken. I couldn't see how they were going to get out of that."

"Whatever steps need to be taken (to restore Michigan's winning tradition), I'm all for it. What is happening right now obviously is not working. I don't know how long they're going to let this last until changes are made."

What Brandon Graham sees:

"Coach Rod’s a good coach, and people are just trying to get him in trouble to me," Graham said.

So Morgan Trent is not disposed to give Rodriguez the benefit of the doubt when Lloyd Carr convenes a special meeting of the Anti-Rodriguez illuminati with the express purpose of revealing the dastardly secret carried about by Rich Rodriguez…


who controls the practice logs?
who puts Michigan Stadium in a bog?
weeeeee dooooooo… we do!

…that any Michigan fan could already have told you.

Here is the reason Morgan Trent went in the sixth round:

coverbad1_thumb coverbad2_thumb coverbad5_thumb

this happened like eight times in that game

He was not particularly good at football. He badly regressed after a promising junior season. Then when he went to the Shrine Bowl he "struggled," reinforcing the opinion of scouts "already down on him." The reason for this is now obvious: he hated the transition to Rodriguez, probably hated the coach himself, and spent a year half-assing it. The responsibility for this lies with Morgan Trent, even if he was so serious about football he lived with relatives(!). Attempts to deflect it only reinforce the very criticism (possibly) leveled by Rodriguez. It had nothing to do with the quality of the team, as Trent claims elsewhere in the article. A guy from Hillsdale went in the third round this year. The Bengals hadn't even talked to Rodriguez and still waited and waited and waited to take him.

During the very moments when Trent was doing whatever it was that made him a team cancer, Brandon Graham was turning himself into a first-round pick. We have not had any reports on what Rodriguez told NFL scouts about Brandon Graham, but dollars to donuts they were along the lines of "draft this man first overall and ask if he will adopt your kids." The reason Rich Rodriguez would say this is because of the things Brandon Graham did. You see, Rudy?

Now, there are a disturbing number of people who look at the Rich Rodriguez inkblot and see big pointy teeth. One major reason for this is that Rodriguez appears to be much harder on his players than Lloyd Carr. It's the very tippy top of the peak of hypocrisy for any Bo-venerating Michigan fan to look down on Rodriguez for this (his failure to resemble Bo in the win column is another matter). Part of that veneration is accepting the idea that being a coach often involves being very harsh to people who aren't living up to your expectations.

I wish that Rodriguez had managed to enter more smoothly but don't really blame him for the massive culture clash no one from fans to players to athletic director anticipated. He has a track record.

To be perfectly blunt and enraging to the denizens of the comments who get enraged when people pop on here and say dumb MLive-type things about departed players, I do blame Trent. Michigan is not going to be in good shape if Rich Rodriguez leaves after this year, and Trent would clearly like to see that happen and is operating either without a care as to how his inability to suck it up affects the program or with the express intent of getting rid of Rodriguez. Loyalty to the institution does not occur to him. It appears that correcting the record is so important to him that he's willing to sell out his alma mater to refute allegations that may not have actually happened and no one knew about. In doing so he's convinced me that the potentially fictional and definitely obscure allegations are true.

So… congratulations Morgan. You've invented a variant on the Streisand Effect.

As for Carr, he gave explicit permission to Trent to sell Rodriguez out in this book:

But Trent was also worried about what Carr thought about his words showing up in the book. He talks to him, not Rodriguez. “I really like Coach Carr. He’s been very good to me,” Morgan says. “I think at first he was wondering, but I let him know it didn’t put him in a bad light. I would never do something like that to Lloyd. He’s great.”

No, just Rodriguez. Any question as so whether or not there is a major rift between the two coaches is now gone. If there wasn't, Carr would have talked to Rodriguez about it. He would have gotten some clarification or a denial or something, and he wouldn't have presented it to Trent in the fashion he did. If he didn't do that, he would have told Trent to shut up when given the opportunity.

If there is really a New Era of Accountability in the athletic department, Carr and David Brandon should have a come-to-Jesus meeting in which Brandon does a lot of screaming. Trent is a pissed-off kid who was working for a scholarship. Carr is supposedly a program icon and an athletic department employee. Michigan shouldn't be paying someone who is actively working against the interests of the athletic department. It's obvious that Carr could have helped smooth things over with any number of players but chose not to, chose to exacerbate things in certain situations. He could have been of help during the transition; he was the opposite.

Through it all, Rodriguez just grits his teeth and asks if you've heard his Lion King joke. I shudder at the tell-all book that will inevitably follow a Rodriguez canning.

*(meta: I had to link to a mgoboard message board post instead of the News because the News shoved their story behind a paywall a month after they posted it. No one is ever going to pay for that article. Go newspapers.)


Upon Further Review: Defense vs Indiana

Upon Further Review: Defense vs Indiana Comment Count

Brian September 30th, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Personnel notes: More of the same. Every DL has a backup who sees considerable time; the back seven does not substitute ever except when it's benching one corner for the other.

I did offer a new thing in the "D form" column, something I'm calling 4-4 under:


Here Michigan's in it's standard undershift but the SLB is Jordan Kovacs and Michigan's aligned three linebackers as you'd see in a normal 4-3.  You could call it a 3-3-5 stack except the LBs aren't stacked (lined up right behind the corresponding DL) and you don't have the right personnel (in a stack Herron would be a safety sort) so it's not. If someone's got better lingo for this let me know and I'll switch.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Pistol Twin TE 4-3 under Pass TE out Roh 7
Back motions out so this is then an empty look. Michigan zone blitzing and dropping Roh off; he takes off after a TE releasing downfield that Mouton is also taking, which leaves the other TE wide open (cover -1). Roh(-1) gets the minus one since it would be strange for his guy to be the inside TE. Cissoko yaps after making a tackle seven yards downfield. WTF, man.
O27 2 3 Ace 4-3 under Run Down G Ezeh 4
Roh(+1) slants inside, knocking his defender back and picking off the pulling guard. Mouton and Ezeh are both unblocked in the hole. Back cuts inside Mouton into Ezeh(-1), who meets the TB at the LOS and ends up making an ankle tackle that gives Indiana a first down. (Tackling –1.)
O31 1 10 Pistol 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Cissoko 6
Open in front of Cissoko (cover -1); Cissoko does an adequate job of escorting him out of bounds.
O37 2 4 Pistol Twin TE 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Woolfolk 11
Michigan blitzing and though this run appears to be headed to the other side of the line the gaping hole opened up by Brown and Ezeh flying upfield is too tempting and the RB cuts back into a ton of space. I don't know if Brown or Ezeh could have done anything given their assignments; I think Woolfolk(-1) is actually late reacting here as he's charging up to the LOS to provide the contain neither Ezeh or Brown will. He ends up arriving late, missing a tackle(-1) and yielding a bunch more yards. Kovacs does make a good open-field tackle on Willis, but after ten.
O48 1 10 Ace Big Base 3-4 Run Inside Zone Kovacs 0
Kovacs(+1) sent on the outside blitz he'll be sent on lots. He ends up right in the RBs face and tackles; Martin(+1) had also broken through the line and assists. Won't + the tackle because Kovacs gave up three after contact.
O48 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Pass PA Seam Ezeh 14
Two play action fakes on this as there is an end-around fake followed by a fake to the RB; Ezeh(-1, cover -2) sucks up and opens a crossing route behind him. RVB(+0.5) was getting some delayed pressure(+1); if the receiver here was covered a sack may have ensued. Good tackle(+1) from Woolfolk (+0.5).
M38 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run Off tackle Ezeh 6
Backups now in on DL: Heininger and Herron. Indiana running at Michigan's tendency to slant here; Heininger(-0.5) slants inside and gets sealed. Ezeh(-0.5) gets stood up by a tackle, getting bowled over as the RB gets to the line and falling backwards.
M32 2 4 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Mouton 2
Heininger pinches in before the snap and this allows him to get playside of his guy(+1), forcing an important cutback since Sagesse(-0.5) had gotten blown back by a double team. An unblocked Mouton(-1) bizarrely decides that maybe Chappel has the ball just as the RB is cutting back into him and steps away from the tailback; fortunately he falls to the ground. Still picks up two that should be zero.
M30 3 2 Ace 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Graham 0
Graham(+1) and Banks(+1) burst past blockers and two yards into the backfield. Banks removes any possibility for the RB to avoid Graham's tackle.
M30 4 2 Ace Big 4-3 under Pass Flat Brown 4
They run a pick route and get man coverage; the pick delays Brown enough to open up the little flat route for first down yardage. (Cover -1)
M26 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-3 under Run Triple option pitch Kovacs 26

Michigan has no idea what it's doing against this formation, which has three guys lined up tight to the wide side of the field, one of whom is a covered tight end. Cissoko and Kovacs are pointing various places and Cissoko ends up running inside as the play snaps, apparently because he's just found out he's supposed to be in man coverage against the wideout to the near side of the field. He doesn't get there before the snap, ending up marooned midway.

This should actually be an advantage(!) since the WR is coming around on an end-around so he can act as a pitchman for Chappell. Roh comes inside of the dive fake; Mouton(+1) sees that the RB doesn't have the ball and does a good job of getting out on Chappell, forcing a pitch. I don't think that was his responsibility, I think that was just a good play. Kovacs(-2) fails to read this, sets up on the QB, and then fails to have the speed to get out on the corner. Cissoko(-2), meanwhile, has bit on the dive fake(!!!) that is definitely not his responsibility, which means once Kovacs can't get him no one can. Step one towards a benching. Replay.

Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 9 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O19 1 10 Pistol Trips 4-3 under Penalty False Start -- -5
O14 1 15 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Martin 0
Martin(+1) slants into a lineman, driving him back two yards. Graham(+1) does the same, cutting off the outside. And Mouton(+1) cuts through traffic, slicing past a blocker to meet the cutback in the backfield and tackling(+1). This was the kind of stuff Mouton was doing at the end of last year and hasn't been doing so far this year.
O14 2 15 Shotgun empty Base 3-3-5 Pass Hitch Cissoko Inc
Three man rush sees Chappell get plenty of time (pressure -1); he throws a hitch well behind the receiver; Cissoko(+1, cover +1) was in tight coverage and may have had a play even if accurate.
O14 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Dumpoff Roh 11
Four rushers this time; Roh(+1) gets outside of the Indiana RT and is thrown to the ground, drawing a holding call (pressure +1). Coverage is good(+1) downfield, forcing a checkdown that come up well short of the sticks. Also an offensive PI but it had no effect on the play.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-3 under Run Zone counter? Banks -1
Indiana shoots the H-back into the backside like Michigan does but the running back doesn't attack there. Instead he heads to the frontside of the play, where Banks(+1) has knifed through the line, forcing the running back into a slanting Graham(+1) and going nowhere.
M41 2 11 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Penalty Illegal snap -- -5
M46 2 16 Pistol 2TE Base 3-4 Run Inside Zone Brown 0
Graham(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5) drive blockers backwards, slanting at angles I'm betting Sharik likes better and forcing a cutback into Brown(+1, tackling +1), who's read the cutback and zipped past a potential blocker to tackle at the LOS.
M46 3 16 Shotgun empty Base 3-3-5 Pass Throwaway Banks Inc
Michigan backs out into a three man rush and Chappell.. rolls out? On third and 15? What? Compounding things: Banks(+1) shot past a blocker thanks to the rollout and pressured(+1) Chappel, causing a throwaway. This looks insane.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Fly Cissoko 56
Ugh, max protect sees eight guys stay in to block against a four-man rush, so everyone's doubled and there is no pressure, though it's hard to blame 'em. Cissoko(-4) just gets run right by by an Indiana receiver, giving up a huge play without the guy so much as offering up a head fake. JT Floyd time. (Cover -3).
M11 1 10 Pistol Twins H-Back 4-3 under Run Dive Mouton 11
Weird formation where they use what looks like a WR as a sort of H-back, which has the strange effect of drawing Cissoko in as a sort of extra linebacker since he's in man coverage. Graham(+1) immediately sheds his blocker, however, blowing up the intended play and forcing a cutback. Mouton(-3) is on the backside and totally unblocked. He inexplicably sets up way inside, giving up the corner, and turning a zero-yard play into a touchdown (tackling -2).
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-14, 2 min 1st Q. Mouton's severe regression is the most disturbing development of the season.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Run QB Draw Ezeh 1
Motion out in to an empty set. IU blocks down on Graham and Martin, pulling two OL around that Ezeh(+2) shoots through, avoiding a cut block, staying on his feet, and tackling(+1) for little gain. Brown(+0.5) had cut off the outside, too, and Graham had fought through an initial seal to be useful.
O25 2 9 Pistol Twin TE Base 4-3 Pass Long handoff Floyd 13
Way, way too easy for IU here as Floyd is playing nine yards off the wideout and gets crushed backwards by the wideout, who bowls him over for a whopping eight yards after contact. (Cover -1, tackling -1, Floyd -1).
O38 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Fly Floyd Inc
Stunt gets Graham(+1) in past the interior line; he levels Chappell as he throws. They're going after Floyd(+1, cover +1) on a fly; he's got good coverage and the ball is off target because of the pressure(+1).
O38 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Flare Mouton 9
Kovacs is blitzing and does read this. He turns to run, at which point an Indiana OL rolls over the back of his legs. That's a clip, but it's uncalled. Mouton is in man coverage on this but gets clipped by a pick (not an illegal one) from a receiver; IU's exploited man coverage a couple times and is late getting out. (Cover -1) They're in man so Mouton(-1) should be quicker to this.
M47 3 1 Shotgun empty 4-3 under Pass TE out Ezeh Inc
This is open and Chappell gets it to the receiver in a tight space—impressive timing—but Ezeh(+2) gets there and wrests the ball out. Could have been ruled a fumble, actually, though Michigan was lucky it wasn't: IU recovered. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-14, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Hitch Floyd 9
Wide open against a timid corner. (Cover -1, Floyd -1) Floyd not anywhere near this to tackle on the catch.
50 2 1 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-4 under Run Triple option pitch Ezeh 9
Same play as the earlier TD. Kovacs blitzing and takes out the dive fake. Floyd(-1) in man over the WR who will be the pitch man and doesn't go with him. This is basic, right? Then: Ezeh(-1) sucks in on the dive fake and Mouton(-1) does force a pitch but he should be the outside guy given the Kovacs blitz and he again gives up the edge.
M41 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-4-under Run Inside Zone Martin 3
Given the way the blockers on the second level attack the M linebackers I believe this was supposed to go to the other side of the LOS and was forced to a backside cut by Martin(+1). Mouton(+0.5) is unblocked on the backside in a moderately sized hole, which he fills; Graham helps tackle. IU RB did a good job of fighting for some YAC.
M38 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Cross Ezeh 11
Ezeh(-1) sucked too far one way by a crossing route, leaving the other cross wide open. (Cover -1)
M27 1 10 Crazy thing Crazy response Pass Out -- 14
Michigan gets confused by this formation and doesn't understand where the receivers they have to cover are lined up, so they leave a guy wide open and he runs for a bit. I'm not going to chart this because it's a trick play. I do think M should have used a TO.
M13 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-4 under Run Inside Zone Brown 0
Kovacs(+1) on the backside blitz. He times it well and gets an arm around the ankle of the tailback. Meanwhile, Brown(+1) sidesteps the H-back's attempted block and zips into the hole he came from, arriving to finish the job. (Tackling +1)
M13 2 10 Pistol Twin TE Twins 4-3 under Pass Flat Herron 5
Motion to empty. This seems like the exact same issue Michigan had on the first play of the game: the deathbacker drops off into coverage on the tight end on the line, leaving no one to cover the H-back in the flat. (Cover -1) Does this coverage make sense?
M8 3 5 Shotgun Trips Bunch 4-3 under Pass Flat Herron 0
Kovacs rolls up to the LOS and Brown used as a nickelback. Ezeh(+1) times a blitz well and apparently did not tip it because Indiana's pickup is confused, leaving Herron a virtually free shot at Chappell. (Pressure +1) Chappell just gets rid of it high; his receiver brings it in but falls as he was doing so. Michigan had this snuffed out anyway because of the disrupted timing. Oh, hell. +0.5 to Floyd.
Drive Notes: Field Goal(24), 14-17, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M29 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Hitch Floyd 26
Much chaos and confusion in the D on this one, with people pointing and stuff as the ball is snapped. Hate the pointing. Slide protection picks up what looks like a stunt and gives Chappell a ton of time (pressure -1) to find a deep hitch that's open(cover -1) and Floyd(-1) overplays, unsuccessfully diving past the ball and turning 12 yards into 26. He did get a hand on it and could have had a PBU with some better luck, and I feel bad for giving him a minus when he actually made a sort of good play, but results-based charting.
M3 1 G Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-4 under Pass Rollout scramble Mouton 0
Not actually Chappell, but WR Mitchell Evans, the wildcat QB. I actually think Mouton again got suckered and left the TE open on this for a potential touchdown but Evans disagrees, probably because he's a WR, pulling the ball down. When he does that Mouton reacts immediately and attacks him, preventing him from running it in. Dodgy on the coverage but the reaction to Evans bringing it down was good. +1. And a tenuous cover +1.
M3 2 G Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Pass Out Floyd Inc
Graham discards a blocker after a brief delay and is coming in on Chappell, forcing a throw. Not a + pressure but avoids a minus. Receiver is open for a probable TD on Floyd (cover -1); throw is high and hard and deflected OOB by the receiver.
M3 3 G Shotgun Trips Bunch 4-3 under Pass Hitch Brown Inc
Crazy zone blitz gets Mouton(+1) in (pressure +1), forcing an immediate throw to a guy in between Van Bergen(+0.5) and Brown(+1) in a short zone. Three players come together and Brown rakes the ball out. Diving stab by an Indiana receiver on the deflection is for naught. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Field Goal(20), 14-20, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O42 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Warren Inc
Warren in good, not great position, on a play that will become important later. Chapel throws it behind his receiver.
O42 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Bubble screen -- Inc
Trying to exploit Michigan's tendency to not directly cover the slot, but here Brown backs out and probably has a good chance of holding this to a few yards. Throw is low and dropped anyway.
O42 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Flare screen Mouton 3
Our rock their scissors as Michigan overloads one side of the line on a zone blitz. This means Mouton and RVB back out into short zones on the other side of the field and are excellently positioned to snuff this out after a few yards. (Cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-20, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
M21 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Floyd 14 (Pen -10)
Floyd(-1) playing way, way off (cover -1) and this is wide open, which ruins a protection screwup on IU's part that gets Herron in unblocked (pressure +1). Graham(+1) is basically tackled by the LT, drawing a holding call.
M31 1 20 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Hitch Floyd Inc
Wow, Indiana slides protection and ends up with a RB one-on-one with Graham; this goes about as well as you'd expect but Chappell is chucking a short hitch anyway that Floyd is is good-not-great position on (cover +1, +0.5). Irrelevant since it's airmailed.
M31 2 20 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Run Draw Brown 1
Linebackers dropping into zones and there's no one coming out to block them so it's a simple matter for them to contain it; Brown(+0.5) makes a good tackle(+1) to finish the play.
M30 3 19 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass Slant Brown 14
Michigan sends a zone blitz, sending all three linebackers and dropping the DEs into short zones. This gets Mouton(+1) through unblocked (pressure +1), but the coverage behind it is faulty with Brown(-1) getting lost to the outside of a guy he appears to be in man in (cover -1), which opens up a bunch of space that allows Indiana dangerously close to the first down before Floyd(+1) makes an authoritative tackle(+1). Minuses on a third down stop because this greatly improves IU's FG chances.
Drive Notes: Field Goal(30), 21-23, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O2 1 10 Ace Big 4-3 under Run Dive Graham 1
Oooh, Graham(+1) knifes past the RT and almost has an angle to crush this for a safety, but the back manages to cut just past him. The disruption causes him to fall for little gain; Ezeh was there unblocked to provide some variety of resistance if he didn't fall.
O3 2 9 Ace Big 4-3 under Run Dive Martin 3
Why are they running at Martin(+0.5) and Graham(+0.5)? Both stand up their blockers, with Martin delaying the second level block of the RG; the RB has a tiny crease to slam up into, where he's surrounded by those two and Ezeh. The pile lurches a couple yards.
O6 3 6 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Rollout sack Brown -1
Chappell gets outside the pocket on a designed roll (pressure -1) and has time to survey but can't find anyone for a long time (cover +2). Running out of time, he tries to cut it up and in swarmed under, with Brown the primary tackler(+1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-23, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O13 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Run Dive Roh 4
Roh zips into the backfield after what looks like a bust by Indiana, but can't tackle(-1) for loss. He does force the tailback to cut into the backside, away from the blocking on the play, and this allows Ezeh(+0.5) to avoid any potential blockers, read the cutback, change direction, and tackle.
O17 2 6 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Pass Corner Graham Inc
Again Indiana is sliding the protection to leave an RB on Graham. Graham(+0.5) is delayed but not taken out by a cut block and Chappell has to throw quicker than he'd like (pressure +1); he airmails a ball to a covered(+1) receiver.
O17 3 6 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Pass Skinny post Mouton 18
Linebackers back out and it's just a three-man rush. Graham(+1, pressure +1) is actually coming around to hit Chappell as he finds a receiver, who's cut inside of Mouton(-1, cover -2) for a 15-yard gain. This is where not having even one nickelback kills you.
O35 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Pass Fly Floyd Inc (Pen +15)
The preposterous PI call. This ball lands three yards out of bounds and six yards past the receiver; uncatchable as hell. CONSPIRACY. If catchable, a penalty. So: -1, cover -1.
50 1 10 Pistol Trips 4-4 even Pass Hitch Van Bergen Inc
Kovacs sent on a blitz that absorbs the RB, leaving RVB alone in the passing lane uncut; he leaps to bat the ball(+1, pressure +1). Downfield coverage looked decent.
50 2 10 Pistol 3-wide 4-3 under Run End-around Warren 7
Wildcat QB. Michigan strings this out pretty well, with Roh(+1) forcing this to go almost to the sideline, but there is zero outside support with Floyd(-1) getting crushed back and Warren(-1) appearing to let up instead of really run the play down, as he was in man coverage on the guy who ended up with the ball.
M43 3 3 Shotgun Trips Bunch 4-3 under Pass Circle -- 7
Ugh, they send four and drop into a zone on third and three and manage to not have anyone within five yards of a guy running a little route at the sticks (cover -2).
M36 1 10 Pistol Twin TE Bunch 4-4 under Run Zone counter dive Mouton 4
Wildcat QB. This is a version of Michigan's counterpunch, with zone blocking on the frontside of the play and a pulling H-back coming down to kick out someone on the backside. Heininger(-1) is in for Graham and gets crushed down the line, opening up a lot of space; Kovacs occupies the H-back, leaving Mouton(-1) all alone with a tailback; he misses a tackle(-1). Brown(+1) does a good job of scraping over and standing up the RB in his tracks, holding this down.
M32 2 6 Ace Big 4-3 under Pass PA TE Corner Woolfolk 18
Woolfolk(-1) and Ezeh(-1) both sucked up by the play action, leaving the TE wide open (cover -2). Plenty of time, too. (pressure -1). On replay it's obvious that Indiana had the post for a wide open touchdown.
M14 1 10 Ace Big 4-3 under Run Dive Graham -1
Graham back in; Indiana rushes to the line in an attempt to catch Michigan napping and basically do, but only in the secondary. Graham(+1) and Sagesse(+1) both blow into the backfield, forcing a cutback into nothing.
M15 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Throwaway Mouton Inc
Michigan sends the house: seven guys without any zone blitz droops. Mouton(+1) in free, gets his hands up and gets in quick enough to hit Chappell as he's attempting to get it away. (Pressure +2)
M15 3 11 Shotgun empty 4-3 under Pass Throwaway Brown Inc
Zone blitz sees both DTs drop out and Brown(+1) sent from the backside; Brown is in free and Chappell is just trying to get out of the pocket so he can get rid of it. He does. (Pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Field Goal(32), 21-26, 5 min 3rd Q. Nice couple of blitzes drawn up by Robinson to kill the drive; Indiana could have, should have had a touchdown on that PA corner, as both safeties bit like whoah and Floyd had no chance.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Run Inside Zone Martin 1
Martin(+0.5) drives the opposing center back; Graham(+0.5) and RVB(+0.5) also slant into the play. No creases; so a cutback where Mouton(+0.5) and Herron(+0.5) are waiting to tackle(+1) at the LOS.
O25 2 29 Pistol 2TE Base 4-3 Pass Hitch Warren 14
Michigan sends the house, leaving the corners isolated, and Indiana actually goes after Warren. Warren's in decent coverage and has an opportunity to make a tackle after a five yard catch but misses it (-1, tackle -1), giving Indiana another ten yards and a first down.
O39 1 10 Pistol Twins 4-3 under Pass PA Rollout Throwaway -- Inc
Rollout gets Chappel plenty of time (pressure -1), but all his receivers are blanketed (cover +2), with Warren(+1) and Woolfolk(+1) providing the primary cover on the receivers. Chappel chucks it away.
O39 2 10 Pistol Trips 4-3 under Run Down G Mouton 24
Indiana line blocks down and pulls two guards around into the weakside of the defense, which is Floyd and Mouton. Yikes. Herron slants himself out of the play, and Mouton(-1) attacks upfield too quickly when he's got unblocked help in the form of Ezeh inside; Mouton should be aiming to get the RB inside of him at all costs but he doesn't, and then Floyd(-0.5) is crushed by an OL but you can't blame him too much for that. Ezeh pursues downfield and has an opportnity to tackle after eight or ten but misses it(-1, tackling -1). Kovacs finally cleans up.
M37 1 10 Ace Big 4-4 under Run Dive Sagesse 5
Simple straight-ahead run at Sagesse(-1), who gets down-blocked and kicked out of the hole by the LG as the RG pulls around. Heininger(-0.5) gets blown off the line by a double. Plowing ahead goes for good yardage.
M32 2 5 Ace Big 4-4 under Pass PA Flat throwaway Warren Inc
I dislike it when Michigan does not make the obvious matchup when Indiana is in their tight formation and leaves Floyd on the WR and Warren on the H-back. But they do; it's man as the H-back pulls across the formation; this time Michigan's linebackers ride the TEs downfield, jamming them all the way and preventing Chappell from hitting them. Both short guys are covered and Chappell just throws it away. (Cover +2, +1 for Mouton, Herron; +0.5 Floyd, Warren).
M32 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass Cross Mouton 6
Indiana running crossing routes underneath; Mouton(-1) goes too far out of his zone getting a bump on a TE and opens it up for the guy dragging the other way across the formation (cover -1); Chappel hits him for a first down.
M26 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-3 under Pass Scramble -- 1
Indiana goes max protect and sends two guys on fly routes; Michigan has bracketed both those guys with safeties (cover +1) and there's nowhere to go. Chappell rolls out and then attempts to get what he can; a bunch of guys tackle at the LOS.
M25 2 9 Pistol Trips 4-3 under Run Off tackle Van Bergen 1
Trying to run at the not-good side of the line; Michigan is slanting that way, though, and RVB(+1) gets playside of his guy, driving him into the backfield and picking off one of the pulling guards. Ezeh takes out the other one and RVB and Herron(+0.5) combine to tackle(+1) for no gain.
M24 3 8 Shotgun Trips Bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass Fly Floyd Inc
Michigan actually makes a late shift to a four man line; Graham is attempting to spin inside his guy, but he's getting doubled; he notices Sagesse's push and runs what looks like an impromptu stunt, shooting up the middle of the pocket and forcing a throw (+1, pressure +1) to a receiver in the endzone. Floyd(+1) is in excellent (coverage +1), forcing his guy to the sidelines. Guy makes the catch but it's well out of bounds, the only place it could be given the defense.
Drive Notes: Missed FG(42), 21-26, 14 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O15 1 10 Pistol Trips 4-3 under Run Down G Van Bergen 85

RVB, again:

"I made the wrong check," Van Bergen said. "It doesn't happen very often, but it was independently on me. It almost cost the team a big loss, and I would have blamed that completely on myself." …

"We were supposed to be running blitz to the boundary and I checked to field," he said. "It's something very basic, and I shouldn't have made that mistake."

Michigan's shifted their line away from the short side of the field, and their linebackers; the short side of the field ends up with two TEs. This is not good.So this play is just about doomed from the start, but the degree of doomage is because of further errors from a couple players. Graham gets downblocked and a TE pulls around, leaving zero in the way of linebackers to that side of the field. Floyd(-1) just gets outrun, which is disturbing, and Kovacs(-2) takes a bad angle, getting outrun himself. I don't minus for alignment errors because unless someone comes out and says "my bad" in the aftermath, who's to know who's to blame?

Drive Notes: Touchdown, 33-29, 8 min 4th Q. God, Pam Ward is horrible.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Run Off tackle Van Bergen -1
Kovacs sent on the backside blitz as per usual. Van Bergen(+1) surges into the backfield, occupying blockers and getting in the way long enough for Kovacs(+1) to tackle from behind.
O23 2 11 Ace Big 4-4 under Pass Sack Van Bergen -12

Play action that sort of looks well-covered short but it's Floyd 1-on-1 with a receiver going deep and that's dodgy. It's not relevant since Van Bergen(+3) again slices through two blockers, gets his hands up, and then sacks Chappell for a huge loss. (Pressure +1, cover +1)

O11 3 23 Pistol 2TE 4-4 under Run Inside Zone Van Bergen 2
Dude. Van Bergen(+1) again through the line, slanting into the backfield and destroying the play. Cutback sees the tailback pick up a couple.
Drive Notes: Punt, 29-33, 5 min 4th Q. That's as atoned as you can get right there.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 under Pass Slant Warren Int
Why would you throw this? I don't know. Note: Graham(+1) was coming in on Chappell(pressure +1), forcing him to throw the ball and maybe not reconsider this decision. Warren(+4) meanwhile, breaks on the ball and picks it off, killing Indiana's potential gamewinning drive before it starts. (Cover +2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 36-33, 2 min 4th Q.

Do you know what I did when Indiana had that 85 yard run?


I thought to myself "I bet Ryan Van Bergen missed a check and will spend the rest of the game personally destroying the Indiana offense."


No. I threw the cat at the TV and vowed to find Jim Herrmann and find a way to blame it on him.

Ah so.

Ah so. Chart?

Ok. Chart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Graham 12 - 12 How does this man not have a sack? Poor coverage.
Heininger 1 2.5 -1.5 Has a tendency to get exploded.
Patterson - - - DNP.
Roh 3 1 2 Not really in on much.
Herron 3 - 3 Some good run defense.
Martin 4.5 - 4.5 Indiana could not move him.
Van Bergen 8 1 7 Did virtually nothing until the 85-yard run, then single-handedly killed the next drive.
Banks 2 - 2 Had a couple plays.
Sagesse 1 1.5 -0.5 Quiet.
TOTAL 34.5 6 28.5 I actually think this might be a decent DL. MSU will be interesting.
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 5.5 5.5 0 Had a couple of key plays… both ways.
Mouton 7 8 -1 Surprised he came out this close to even. Major culprit on a few big plays.
Brown 6 1 5 Cutting through traffic to make plays and tackling with authority.
Fitzgerald - - - DNP.
Leach - - -- DNP.
TOTAL 18.5 14.5 4 Progress? 
Player + - T Notes
Warren 4.5 2 2.5 Won't be thrown at the rest of the year. Bring a book, kid.
Cissoko 1 6 -5 Yeesh.
Floyd 4.5 8 -3.5 Tries hard. Clearly physically deficient.
Turner - - - DNP
Woolfolk 0.5 3 -2.5 Lucky he wasn't a goat on play action.
Williams - - - DNP
Emilien - - - DNP
Kovacs 3 4 -1 Hardy, but slow.
TOTAL 13.5 23 -9.5 If we only had a second corner.
Pressure 17 4 13 Even when they went deep Chappell was eating linemen all day.
Coverage 18 25 -7 Not horrible, actually.
Tackling 10 7 3 Major step back from inagural week.

So, yeah, them's the numbers.

Shouldn't those numbers be considerably more horrible?

Well, from one perspective, yes: Michigan gave up 33 points and almost 500 yards to Indiana. From another… maybe not? Diarist The Mathlete maintains some cool statistics that take drive starts and quantity into account, and they have an interesting story:

Run Defense vs Indiana

Another win for Indiana here, obviously.  Despite Michigan poor job in previous games against the run, the Hoosiers still "beat the spread" going +2 against the Wolverine rush D while the D was 3 points worse against Indiana than the average team. …

Pass Defense vs Indiana

Indiana was actually below average passing against Michigan, with a -1 while Michigan was +4 vs the Indiana passing game. …

Field Position

Based solely on drive starts, Michigan should have lost the game 30-27, indicating that the offense overachieved by 9 points and the defense underachieved by 3.

If you go back to those pace statistics from Barking Carnival that I've referenced in the past you find that the offense-mad Big 12 averaged 11.4 possessions per game last year; Indiana got 15 cracks, three of which started in Michigan territory. All of those were legit scoring opportunities. This calculation is overly simplistic, but 11.4/15 is 76%. 76% of Indiana's yards in the last game is 355, which would have been almost exactly average last year*. You can do the same for the points.

*(This year's stats are inflated by a prevalence of cupcakes early.)

Even if I do believe your statistical witchery, is it good to give Indiana a national-average number of yards?

Well, no. Underachieving by three points based solely on drive starts against a team that was 3-9 last year is not good. But all I'm trying to do here is explain the numbers above, which are really positive for the DL, meh (meh-minus when you account for the LB-caused negs in the coverage metric) for the linebackers, and terrible in the secondary. It was close to an average day given the number of drives against and the spots on the field those started and the numbers reflect that.

Through a less defensive prism: I think the circumstances mitigate but do not excuse the performance turned in by the defense. It's a bad defense with some glaring holes and a maddening propensity to let tailbacks break contain. I don't think it's quite as horrible as 467 yards by Indiana suggest.

Was it actually a pick?

I don't know, man. I've seen the stills at Maize 'n' Brew and here are a couple high quality ones from UMGoBlog, and they seem to make a case, but nothing I saw in the video was particularly conclusive either way. My initial reaction live was "that's too bad, simultaneous possession" and my initial reaction when they reviewed it was "that's too bad, they'll overturn it if they can," which they could not. The only thing I can offer is that the referee who made the call had an angle no one else did, as he was running right at the play from the most advantageous viewpoint, so there's a possibility he saw what the stills suggest: Warren had possession first, at which point Belcher came in to grab the ball but only after Warren had established possession.

If you ask me, though: Bill Lynch was right to toss his gum. I'd be livid if that happened to Michigan.


Okay, even if it is a bad call let's not get all crazy with weird conspiracy theories. (What's that, Penn State fans? I'm ten years too late? Oh.) Michigan got called for an illegal formation on this:

illegal formation WTF

This knocked out a 20-yard third down conversion and is something I've never seen called ever. Also, Michigan pissed off the pass interference fairy something fierce this offseason. So save the CONSPIRACY theories.

What is the deal with all the outside runs?

I don't know. We saw this last week with JB Fitzgerald and thought "that's why he doesn't play" but here's Jonas Mouton doing virtually the exact same thing:

Indiana also got a 24-yarder when Mouton did not get outside of the Indiana tailback. Here he's got a blocker but he's got to know his #1 priority is to get that RB inside of him so that Ezeh can flow to him and tackle.

Elsewhere in questionable linebacker play, twice Michigan was sitting in zones that should be well-equipped to thwart or at least hold down Indiana crossing routes and overreacted to the first one coming through their zone. Here's one:

Mouton did a similar thing later.

It wasn't all bad, though. Ezeh ripped out what would have been a third down completion and also sliced up into a play to stone it for no gain; Mouton had a couple moments of slithering attack. They ended up near zero today, which isn't great against Indiana but it could have been worse. Can I suggest that there are the briefest embers of hope here? We're stuck with these guys for the next two years, so their improvement will be critical.


The two-headed non-Warren cornerback is a big obvious glaring hole, the biggest on the team. And Van Bergen's missed check was damaging, almost disastrous.


After the missed check, Van Bergen personally destroyed Indiana's penultimate drive, slanting into the backfield twice to crush running plays and then getting a critical second-down sack. It was a drive of atonement. Also, Graham and Martin were consistently excellent; Stevie Brown should always have been a linebacker; Donovan Warren missed one tackle but… uh… well… you know.

What does it mean for Michigan State and the remainder of the season?

Whatever lingering hopes you had that the corner spot opposite Warren could turn into a non-liability should be put in the corner and told to  be quiet for a while. JT Floyd did better than I thought he did live but still remains a timid redshirt freshman who transparently lacks the speed to be an elite corner. Michigan is going to have to cover up for him. Kovacs is okay but really slow.

Elsewhere… I'm coming around on the defensive line, at least the starters. Graham has had the quietest dominating performances ever, Martin is proving solid, and Van Bergen went all HULK SMASH after the missed check. Earlier in the year, Steve Sharik was complaining about the terrible angles Michigan was taking on its slants; I think that's something that's gotten repaired, as Michigan is slanting its ass off and leaving little in the way of creases for the opponents. When the back seven doesn't screw up magnificently, Michigan stoned Indiana all day. Yeah, yeah, just Indiana, but I'm happier with dominance interspersed with huge errors than the steady drip-drip-drip of physical inadequacy. Fix the errors and you could be okay.

Of course, physical dominance is easy against Indiana and will be tougher against most of the rest of the schedule, so this could just be a mirage. Michigan State will be a big test.

The linebackers are at least making some plays to go with their massive errors, Stevie Brown(!) excluded since he's not making massive errors.

Bizarrely, I have some hope yet for this thing to be mediocre once Michigan gets a better idea of what it's doing. The improved slanting is one step in the right direction and an indication that the defense is getting less confused as the season goes along. Like last year's offense, the youth and uncertainty of the group means they should improve more than the average unit as we go along; they could be functional against not great offenses. By my count, that's the entire league.

What did I just say? God help me.